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Trying to Justify the Present by Rewriting the Past

“History is written by the victors.”
-Winston Churchill

“Those who can’t change the future, are left with rewriting the past.”
-Zehava Galon, Leader of Israel’s Meretz Party

As the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler rose to power, it targeted identifiable groups as enemies of the state starting with communists and gypsies and the mentally infirm. Its real target, however, was the Jews. Once in power, a series of laws were enacted first restricting Jews in countless ways and then forcing them to wear the now infamous yellow Star of David badge on their clothing. Eventually, they would be rounded up and ‘emigrated’ from Germany to camps in Eastern Europe.

They became slave labour and when they could no longer work, they were simply killed. By 1941, the killing of Jews had become unofficial Nazi policy and was left in the hands of local and regional leaders to organize.

Initially, Jews were shot but there were a number of problems that arose. Bullets were expensive and necessary for the war effort. It was a time consuming process that did not rise to the standards of typical German efficiency and finally, it was having a negative effect on the morale of members of the SS doing the killing; something Nazi bureaucrats had failed to consider.

By the summer of 1941, the Nazis were experimenting with different methods of mass killing including the use of carbon monoxide gas. Specially designed and built trucks were used to transport Jews who were gassed by carbon monoxide from the vehicles emissions. Because of the sheer numbers of Jews to be exterminated, however, it was becoming increasingly clear to the Nazi hierarchy that an even more efficient means of mass killing was required.

House of the Wannsee Conference

House of the Wannsee Conference

On 20 January 1942, a conference was held under the direction of the Chief of Security Police, Reinhard Heydrich, in order to discuss ‘the Final Solution to the Jewish Question’. It has become known as the Wannsee Conference and was a meeting to pull together what up to that point had been an uncoordinated and inconsistent approach to exterminating Jews in various parts of the Third Reich.

Minutes of this conference were taken by Adolf Eichman who escaped from Germany after the war but who was eventually found and kidnapped from South America by Israeli agents. He was flown secretly to Israel where he was tried and subsequently executed. Only one copy of Eichman’s minutes of the Wannsee Conference survived but they provide great detail on the cold, pragmatic approach the Nazi regime applied to the mass murder of human beings.

The Nazi regime eventually murdered more than six million Jewish men, women and children in gas chambers in camps like Treblinka, Belsen and Dachau. It was organized slaughter on an industrialized scale unmatched in modern history.

Richard Heydrich -- the Nazi's architect of the Final Solution

Richard Heydrich — the Nazi’s architect of the Final Solution

To the Nazis, it was simply their final solution to what they deemed the Jewish problem. To the rest of the world it became known as ‘The Holocaust’.

On May 14, 1948 the British relinquished their control over Palestine and in a vote of 33 to 13, the United Nations declared the formation of the state of Israel. It was the world’s response to the revelations of the Nazi genocide of European Jews.

There have and continue to be holocaust deniers, of course, people who for whatever reasons refuse to accept that Jews were systematically rounded up and shipped to Eastern Europe where they were murdered in incomprehensible numbers.  But no amount of denial can erase the incredible amount of evidence that survived the war and which exists to this day.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has aligned himself with those same deniers offering up his own unique bit of revisionist history. He has shifted responsibility for the genocide from Hitler to the Grand Mufti, the recognized Palestinian leader during the war. In an attempt to justify his own actions against Palestinians, Netanyahu claimed that it was the Grand Mufti who convinced Hitler to undertake the mass extermination of Jews. It is a claim so outrageous as to be a disgrace, especially since the killing had started before the meeting between Hitler and the Grand Mufti had taken place. More than 33,000 were slaughtered in Babi Yar in September 1941.

“Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jew. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here (to Palestine).’ According to Netanyahu, Hitler then asked: “What should I do with them?” and the mufti replied: “Burn them.”

Germany came out yesterday to condemn the Israeli Prime Minister’s comments, stating unequivocally that it was Germany not Muslims in the Middle East that planned and carried out the extermination of Jews. His comments have even come under criticism in Israel as many believe that a deliberate misrepresentation of the truth only serves to trivialize the Holocaust for cynical political purposes.

Rabid supporters of Israel are attacking anyone who dares criticize the accuracy of Netanyahu’s comments; labelling critics as anti-Semitic and racist but they are wrong, blinded by their own desperate need to believe something and refusal to accept fundamental truths which might shake those belief systems.

Blind support of deliberate fabrications and revisionist history is as dangerous to our security and safety as terrorism because it shares the same fanatical belief that anything is justified in the name of advancing the cause. But the truth is that nothing justifies distorting the truth and we support it at our own peril.

Like most Canadians, I support Israel and its right to exist. I respect Israel’s right to defend itself and am prepared to support this country’s contribution to that defense should it be called upon to do so. But I do not support any attempt to distort the truth.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has since backtracked on his comments after a considerable amount of condemnation and mockery but he has demonstrated repeatedly that he is unwilling to seek any kind of compromise solution to issues with the Palestinian Authority and seeks instead to justify his own intransigence and actions with deliberate misrepresentations of fact. He has meddled in the affairs the United States Government, Israel’s strongest ally and source of military support. He has authorized disproportionate responses against innocents, causing the deaths of more than 400 children, in response to the actions of terrorists and has repeatedly been careless with the truth. He does Israel a dangerous disservice when he attempts to revise history to justify his actions.

Israel is our friend and ally but that does not mean we must blindly accept whatever Israel does or its leaders say. Friends should be able to be openly critical of each other and nothing justifies remaining silent in the face of lies we would normally and properly condemn from other leaders and nations.

Whatever the issues between Israel and the Palestinians may be, they share nothing with the Nazi Holocaust and will not change the truth about it. Nothing Benjamin Netanyahu says will change it either.

His comments will only continue to erode support for Israel and that nation’s credibility in the world community while further undermining any hope at eventual resolution of what is already an almost impossible situation to resolve.

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© 2015 Maggie’s Bear

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  • pbob67

    I agree, history is proven facts but remember, it is the UN who started the rewrite, and the PM is simply pointing out a bit of proven facts concerning Islam’s influence with Hitler, the rewriting of historic history that the Jews stole the Holy land and that the old testament account of the Jewish claim to the Temple Mount are false, and it belongs to the Palestinians and always did. It is not a secrete that the UN supports the Palestinians, and would rather have Israel just go away. One of the greatest speeches ever delivered at the UN, was this last one from PM Netanyahu and he was spot on, Most of the UN member nations hate Israel including the US President, and his administration. Of course, they hate the Christian as well.

    • MaggiesBear

      My point is simply that this kind of revisionist history is used to defend current actions, not to clarify the record. I think that if you believe your actions are appropriate, you shouldn’t have to rewrite history in order to justify them. The Holocaust was the result of the actions of European Christians and had virtually nothing to do with Muslims.

      • Frances

        However, the Grand Mufti was a friend of Hitler’s and thoroughly supported the extermination of the Jews. Further, were many practicing Christians (as opposed to nominal ones) actively involved in this extermination? The Nazis worshiped, if anything, the pagan god of Aryan supremacy. Certainly, a lot of Christians died resisting the Nazis and fighting to liberate Europe.

        • MaggiesBear

          Hitler was born a Catholic. Many who served in the military were Lutherans. The nation continued to practice Christianity throughout the war. Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor stated this past week that the Holocaust was originated by Germans. I am not condemning Christianity, I am pointing out the Holocaust had nothing to do with Muslims. As you point out in your own post, the Grand Mufti supported the extermination of the Jews but it was the Nazis that conceived and initiated it. Persecution of the Jews started almost from the beginning of Hitler’s rise to power. The meeting between the Grand Muftti and Hitler took place just three years before the end of the war. The slaughter was already underway by then and no amount of revisionist history desperately trying to forge links to Islam is going to change that. As a further point of information, the United States had ties with Hitler in his early rise to power but no one is suggesting that it played a role in the Holocaust. Netanyahu is deliberately distorting history for his own political purposes and it is a dangerous thing to allow him, or anyone, to get away with it.

          • JWM

            Muslims were just the cheering section.

            • MaggiesBear

              Exactly.

          • Frances

            Will concede to you, most noble bear, that Christianity has a long and ignoble bias against Jews. Goes back to early days of the faith, when it was the Jews who were trying to take out the Christians, but that does not excuse subsequent persecutions. However, I do take exception with your assumption that because “Hitler was born a Catholic” he was therefore – in his adult life – a Christian of any sort, let alone practicing. All the holy water in the world sprinkled on an infant at baptism is of no effect should said infant – in adulthood – reject said baptism and follow pagan ways. I hold by my comment that the Nazi “faith” was a return to the old Norse gods and Aryan supremacy.

            Further, though Lutherans served in the military, where did they serve? Were they in the Waffen SS and similar regiments? Or were they regular Germans, called up to served their country but not necessarily endorsing Nazi doctrine? Not every German soldier, sailor, or airman was a Nazi. Many were not, but found themselves in a war defending the “motherland”.

            I commend to you also the example of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who led Christian resistance in Germany and who was executed in 1944. Some German churches tried a strategy of non-confrontation and even accommodation with the Nazis, but found there was no reward in such behaviour. Others resisted and suffered for same.

            Finally, I would note that nowhere in the New Testament are Jews described as “the descendants of apes and pigs”; nor are Christians given the admonition to go out and kill Jews. Sadly, there are – in the Koran and Hadiths, several such passages. Add to those the passages about taking “women of your right hand”, and you find a very different faith in the Koran than in the Bible.

            It may well be that Hitler was determined on the extermination of the Jews before he met with the Grand Mufti; I sincerely doubt that the Grand Mufti would have done other than encourage him that path.

            • MaggiesBear

              There is no question that the Grand Mufti was a supporter of the Hitler regime including it’s extermination of jews but that isn’t what Netanyahu claimed. He tried to put responsibility for the idea on the shoulders of someone other than Hitler and that’s just flat wrong as Netanyahu knew and has since admitted. My point about Catholics and Christians was simply that Germany was mainly a Christian country. I don’t believe Hitler remained a Catholic as an adult but the point remains that a country comprised mainly of Christians supported him. We have seen countless examples of people in countries all around the world, including our own, where people of one faith or another compromise the teachings of their faith to support economic or political expediencies.

      • pbob67

        I stand by my opinion…

        • MaggiesBear

          I prefer to stand on the facts.

          • pbob67

            Who’s facts?

            • MaggiesBear

              The facts as recorded by historians, governments, militaries around the world. You can believe what you like, it’s of no concern to me but you only fool yourself. The simple fact is that Netanyahu has trivialized the murder of 6 million Jews, something not lost on a majority of people in Israel. Their condemnation of his distortion of history caused him to modify his statements.

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